Snickers Cupcakes

I’ve been on quite a blogging break, I believe last time I posted I was planning my wedding. Now I’ve been married for more than a year and we recently welcomed our first child, a sweet baby boy. I’ve been cooking and baking all along, just didn’t take the time to post. My goal this year is to get back into posting. We are named Two Girls Cooking after all, it’s not fair that one girl’s been carrying the blog by herself!

I have been on leave at work and I decided I wanted to bake a sweet treat before I go back later this week. I bookmarked these Snicker’s cupcakes a while ago, I’ve been meaning to make them ever since. There have been a couple times I had the mini snickers on hand, but they never lasted long enough to be made into cupcakes!

These were very simple and fun to make. I liked that they use a boxed cake mix, but dress it up a bit. I also loved the fun surprise of having the snickers baked into the center. I even got to use the big icing tip that Patricia gave me as a birthday gift to try to make them look as good as they do on My Baking Addiction. They aren’t quite as pretty, but I’m still proud of how they turned out. I’m not usually a big fan of a lot of frosting, and while this is rich, I’m really enjoying the carmel buttercream. I think I can probably find some other recipes that it would work well with too!

– Jodi

For the cake:
1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs; lightly beaten
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon of vanilla
24-30 frozen Snickers Miniatures

Method
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line (2) 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs, vanilla and water.
4. Evenly divide the batter amongst the prepared pans.
5. Gently push a frozen Snickers Miniature bar into the center of the batter and smooth the surface making sure to cover the candy bar with batter.
6. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean.
7. Cool cupcakes thoroughly on wire rack.

For the frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter; room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup caramel topping; plus more for drizzling
1/4 teaspoon salt

Method
1. Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add the vanilla extract, salt and caramel syrup and combine well.
2. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, give it a taste and decide if you want to add in more caramel syrup. For thicker frosting you can gradually add in a little more sugar.

Garnish with chopped Snickers bars and a drizzle of caramel of caramel syrup. Makes 24-30 cupcakes.


Guacamole

Thursdays are Taco dinner night at our house.  Tonight I decided to make some home made guacamole for the kids!  When we go to Chipotle for lunch, they beg for the guacamole and chips!  I try to stay away from their chips and guacamole lately, but when making it at home, I can control what goes in it.

This is the first time I’ve just run to the store and bought the ingredients to make this.  Usually I buy of the seasoning packets and mix it in with the avocados.  When I ran to the store the first time today, I actually bought that seasoning packet.  Then I thought I’d give it a try.  After getting the kids from school, we ran back to the store and picked up our ingredients.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 red onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1-2 serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
  • A dash of freshly grated black pepper

Cut avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out avacado from the peel, put in a mixing bowl.

Using a fork, mash the avocado. Add the chopped onion, cilantro, lime  and pepper and mash some more.  I removed the seeds from the Chili peppers to reduce the degree of hotness (I usually wear gloves when cutting or touching cilantro or peppers but today forgot!  Even after washing my hands I’ve touched my mouth and my lips are still burning!).

While I was making the guacamole, Caleb read me a story!

And while Caleb was reading and the guacamole was almost done, the tacos were being cooked in some extra virgin olive oil to give it a nice crispy shell.

Here’s what we had left halfway through our dinner….

Avocado’s are good for you right!!!  AND we ate them with Organic White Corn chips.   I don’t actually buy them because they’re “better” for you.  I buy them because they are cheaper and they taste better than some of the other brands.

This was really good.  Add some to your tacos..what more is there to say!  Oh…glad I have that little bit left over for lunch tomorrow!!

Happy Thursday

Patricia – Two Girls Cooking Blog

 

Yield: Serves 2-4 (in this case 3)

Un-Fried Chicken Fingers

How many of us love fried chicken?  Me!  Raising hand in the air.  How many of us know that eating that chicken fried is not so good?  Me!  Raising hand in the air again not wanting to admit that.

Every time I post something on our blog, I send an email to my friend at work, Heidi.  She doesn’t do the Social Networking, so I like to share these with her.  I had given her the BBQ Chicken Finger recipe.  The next day when I asked her if she saw the post and she said she did.  She also said that she makes chicken in the oven that tastes just like it’s been fried!  (the BBQ Chicken fingers are fried in a pan w/oil before baking in the oven).  Well heck, I’m all for that.

I’ve soaked chicken in egg, milk, flour, bread crumbs, and even Cheez it  Crackers!  Some of you may have heard or even done this before, but I haven’t heard of using Frosted Flakes.  I was all game for it.  The sweetness that Heidi explained with the chicken, must be tried.

Here’s what you need:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used Lemon Pepper flavored)

Zip lock bag full of crushed Frosted Flakes

2 egg whites, mixed well

Olive Oil Cooking Spray

What to do:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees

Put the Frosted Flakes in a zip lock bag and crush!

Cut the chicken breast into strips

Dip each piece of chicken in the egg white.  Put the cereal on a plate and coat both sides of the chicken and place on a baking sheet that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.  Once each piece has been put on the baking sheet, spray with the Olive Oil Cooking spray.

Put in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

If you’ve tried this before, then you can understand what the sweet flavor of the cereal does on the chicken.  Instead of putting into words, just put it in the oven.

No frying in a pan full of oil.  The cereal is much better than the oil!!

Thanks for sharing this with me Heidi so I can share with others.  We’ll make this often.

Have a great week.

Patricia – Two Girls Cooking Blog

Panko Crusted Salmon

Panko Crusted Salmon

I took out salmon for lunch today.  I was going to make it the same way that I had the last time, but thought there has to be a different way to make this.

Last night for dinner I had made the Panko Pork Chops, so I thought, huh….I bet I could put Panko bread crumbs on this as well!  I did find a recipe on Simply Recipes, I just modified it a bit!

Here’s what you need:

1 thawed salmon

2tbs Dijon Mustard

1tbs dried parsley (I did not have any fresh on hand)

Cooking Olive Oil Spray

1/2 cup Panko Bread crumbs (I usually have the Italian flavored on hand but they didn’t have any at the store, so I used plain)

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

I put some Dijon Mustard, put it on a plate and mixed in some parsley.  I lined a baking sheet with foil (sprayed with cooking spray) and put the salmon skin side down.   I added some salt and pepper to the salmon.  I covered the salmon with the parsley/mustard mixture and then poured the Panko Bread crumbs to cover the entire salmon.  I sprinkled a bit more parsley on top and sprayed it with more of the olive oil cooking spray.

I set the timer for 10 minutes and checked on it.  It didn’t feel quite done yet so I bake for another minute or so.  It should be firm to the touch.

I had left over asparagus from dinner last night that didn’t get cooked (since Brooklyn and I are the only ones that eat it!) so I put this in a pan with water and steamed it for just a few minutes.

Simply Recipes stated this: Panko is a Japanese type of bread crumb that is especially light and crunchy, popular these days with chefs because it doesn’t get soggy. What I love about this way of preparing salmon is that the panko topping seems to hold in the salmon’s moisture while roasting, so the salmon doesn’t get dried out at all. The salmon is perfectly moist, flakey, and seasoned.

I have to really agree.  The salmon was very moist compared to pan frying it like last time!

 

Good and healthy lunch.  This is something that I do have to make for myself as not everyone has the same pallet in our house!  Nothing I haven’t already said before.

Have a great rest of the work day!

Patricia – Two Girls Cooking Blog

Which Camera?

I have been using my iPhone 4S for all of my latest blog posts.  Sure it has a pretty good camera on it.  But I’m a fan of so many food bloggers that bring me back time and time again, not just for the food and recipes, but just to see their pictures.

I’ve wanted to get a nice camera since my gal pal Jodi, the other Two Girls, got her Nikon D 3100.

Nikon D 3100

I hadn’t had this one in mind until speaking to Jodi today about starting to do some research on it.  I found some information on the Nikon website, but a lot of it is pretty foreign to me.  Apparently, per Jodi, what I am looking for is aperture.  I want to be able to take close up pictures of my food and blur out the background.

My first choice, before speaking to Jodi was the Nikon 1.

Nikon 1 in Pink

Then Jodi sent me an email and sent me to an article to read about this camera.  This is the one that you can see on TV with Ashton Kusher promoting it.  I went to Target and looked at this one actually.  I was sold on it pretty much until finding out that it lacks the features of what I’m really looking for.

And who knew that there were so many cameras and lens that you can purchase?  Certainly not me.  And who knew that one lens would cost more than the actual camera itself?  Certainly now me.

My sister has a Canon Camera that I’ve seen a few times.  The most recent was this past weekend at a birthday party.  This one falls right around the same price range as the others cameras.

Canon

Canon Lens

This camera is on that is used by a blog that I follow closely, Brown Eyed Baker.  Her photos are, as I’ve always said, amazing.

What really wanted me to get serious about researching cameras was a specific picture I saw on Just Get Off Your Butt and Write.  The picture of her beautiful little granddaughter  is beyond words.

So here I sit thinking over and over which one would be the best to start my search on.  I’ve done reading, I’ve seen the prices and know what I want.  I just need to know which one of these is the best fit for my needs.  I plan on using it for not only the blog, but also for every day use as well.

So give advise.  Do you have any of these cameras?  Or do you have something else that you prefer?  Help me choose which one I should start me search on.

Patricia – Two Girls Cooking